Tony DiCicco, coach of Women's World Cup champs, dies at 68

Tony DiCicco, who led the USA women's national team to the 1999 World Cup title, died Monday.

Other career highlights for Tony DiCicco included a third-place finish at the 1995 World Cup, when the Americans fell in the semifinals to Norway, and claiming the first-ever women's soccer gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics by beating China by a 2-1 score in the final. In 1973, DiCicco toured and played for the U.S. National Team.

DiCicco died on Monday night, his family revealed via Twitter on Tuesday.

"While the health challenges Tony faced were confronted head on and with eyes open, we never could have foreseen the lovely journey that truly defined the magnificence of this man's life".

DiCicco stepped aside following the 1999 Women's World Cup, but returned to the sidelines for the women's under-20 team in 2008, which he guided to the U-20 World Cup title.

Foudy called DiCicco one of the "wonderful gems" in her life and said he was "always about family". "His spirit will indeed live in us all". I smile thru the tears.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said that DiCicco was "one of the most influential coaches in U.S. Soccer history", adding that his passion for the game and relationships with the soccer community "distinguished him as a compassionate and much-loved man", ESPN reported.

"Tony is one of the true legends of women's soccer in the United States, and the game would not be where it is today without his dedication and visionary work", federation CEO Dan Flynn said.

DiCicco is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

"Tony will be remembered for his vast passion, his dedication to the game and his life pursuit to inspire players and people", she said.

DiCicco won 87 percent of his games as head coach and did not eclipse double-digit losses in 119 games, finishing with a remarkable record of 103-8-8.

At the club level, DiCicco coached the Boston Breakers in Women's Professional Soccer from 2009-11.

DiCicco received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Springfield College in MA in 1970, where as a goalkeeper he was the captain and the most valuable player his senior year, earning All-America honors.

Carli Lloyd, another player on the team, tweeted, "So incredibly sad 2 hear about the passing of Tony".

  • Joanne Flowers